This year the Personal Safety Division is celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the first U.S. Government-approved 3M filtering facepiece respirator (a precursor to what is now known as the N95), and the 3M E-A-R Classic Ear Plug.
Here at 3M one thing remains the same when it comes to developing personal protective equipment (PPE). We apply science to life, helping protect worker health and safety on the job for employees today and tomorrow. Learn more about the history of our advancements and where we are going next…
In 1972, 3M debuted what the world knows today as the N95 filtering facepiece respirator. The facepiece was lightweight and easy to use, enabling workers to focus on the task at hand in challenging environments.
Debuted the E-A-R™ Classic™ Foam Earplug
3M had one more transformative introduction in store for 1972—a foam earplug that remains one of the most widely used earplugs in the world.1 The E-A-R Classic used a proprietary closed cell slow recovery material to provide an exceptional combination of comfort and attenuation.
Developed the first qualitative fit test for filtering facepiece respirators
In the 1980s, 3M sought to further advance respiratory protection solutions. 3M safety specialists took a science-based approach to creating an effective fit testing method. The method was accepted by OSHA as a qualitative fit test protocol and included in their respiratory protection standard.
Released the 3M™ DBI-SALA® Sealed-Blok™ Self-Retracting Lifeline
This innovative self-retracting lifeline helped workers take a more proactive approach to fall protection. It was the first to seal its components from harsh environmental conditions, adding assurance to everyday processes.
Developed a half facepiece reusable respirator
Featuring replaceable filter media cartridges, this innovation would lay the groundwork for our offering today of a wide variety of cartridges that help reduce exposure to a variety of gases and vapors as well as particulates.
Released 3M™ VFlex™ Particulate Respirator
With fold-flat design and V-shaped pleats.
Introduced 3M™ Versaflo™
A powered air purifying and supplied air respirator system.
Introduced full-body suit protective coveralls
For working with hazardous materials.
Responded to COVID-19
The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic led to 3M manufacturing respirators at an extraordinary pace. 3M was already producing 35 million N95 respirators per month by March of 2020. By year’s end, two billion had been produced and distributed to first responders and other critical infrastructure workers.
Increased production globally of 3M™ Aura™ Particulate Respirator 9205+
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, providing respirators with a high fit test pass rate has been more important than ever before. Quantitative fit testing has shown that the Aura Particulate Respirator can achieve up to a 93% fit test pass rate.*
*Based on quantitative fit testing in the 3M United States Fit Test Laboratory in April-May 2021 of subjects with a range of face sizes (face sizes 1 through 10 on the NIOSH bivariate grid (PDF, 422.93 KB)). A passing fit factor is defined as 100, based on OSHA 1910.134. The 3M™ Aura™ Healthcare Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1870+ was tested. These results are applicable to 3M™ Aura™ Particulate Respirators 9205+ and 9210+ as described in the U.S OSHA Position on Respirator Fit Testing during COVID-19 (PDF, 113.55 KB). Individual results may vary. For more information, view this 3M Respirator Fit Study (PDF, 312.16 KB).
Today, 3M continues to advance worker health and safety with innovation across dozens of industries.
Emergency Response Versatility
From natural disasters to global pandemics, 3M has spent five decades helping supply first responders, healthcare personnel and other critical infrastructure workers with the PPE they need.
Leadership in Training
3M has demonstrated its commitment to customer education. Onsite and online training, product demos and phone consultations are just some of the ways 3M has helped protect workers from the start.
Whether you’re a safety professional, Occupational Hygienist, someone with any level of WHS responsibility in the workplace, a user of safety equipment, or a safety nerd, then this is the podcast for you!